Raytheon Brings Finmeccanica Back into T-X Jet Trainer Fray

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

Two T-100's in formation flight (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)

Two T-100’s in formation flight (PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company)

Raytheon has officially jumped into the U.S. Air Force’s T-X competition as a prime contractor with its offering of the T-100, an advanced variant of the Aermacchi M-346. Principal partners on the team include Finmeccanica, CAE USA, and Honeywell Aerospace.

The U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training program, also known as the T-X program, aims to replace the aging fleet of T-38 jet trainers currently in service.  The Air Force is planning to acquire 350 aircraft beginning around 2023 or 2024. 

Raytheon picked up airframe manufacturer Finmeccanica when General Dynamics dropped the company as a program partner in 2015. General Dynamics decided to develop a new design for the program.

The Raytheon/Finmeccanica solution combines the T-100 with a ground-based training system.

CAE USA will design and develop a simulation-based training system for lead-in fighter trainer aircraft.

Honeywell Aerospace will provide twin F124 turbofan engines to power the T-100 via the International Turbine Engine Company (ITEC) joint venture.

Other competitors include General Dynamics with a new design, Northrop Grumman with a new aircraft (partner BAE’s Hawk was dropped in 2015), Lockheed Martin/Korea Aerospace Industries with a design based on the T-50, and a Boeing/Saab team with a clean-sheet design. Textron AirLand decided not to propose its Scorpion in September 2015, though the company is reportedly mulling a clean-sheet design for the contest as well.

A Request for Proposals is expected shortly.


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